whether a Wakf property in the list of Wakfs is wakf property or not,a suit can be instituted in a Tribunal for the decision of the question which decision shall be treated as final. Limitation for such suit was also provided in proviso as one year from the date of the publication of the list of Wakfs. Sub-section (5) of Section 6 contained the provision barring a suit in any Court after the commencement of the Act in relation to any question referred to in sub-section (1)

Hon’ble Mr. Justice Ashok Bhushan

1
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 92 OF 2019
PUNJAB WAKF BOARD …APPELLANT(S)
SHAM SINGH HARIKE …RESPONDENT(S)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 93 OF 2019
PUNJAB WAKF BOARD …APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
TEJA SINGH …RESPONDENT(S)
J U D G M E N T
ASHOK BHUSHAN, J.
These two appeals having been filed against two
separate judgments of the Punjab and Haryana High
Court allowing the Civil Revisions filed by the
respondents have been heard together and are being
decided by this common judgment.
2

  1. Brief facts giving rise to the above appeals
    which are necessary to be noticed for deciding these
    appeals are:
    Civil Appeal No.92 of 2019(Punjab Wakf Board vs. Sham
    Singh Harike)
    The appellant, Pubjab Wakf Board, claimed to be
    owner of land measuring 269 kanals 7 marlas,
    comprising in khewat No.462, khatauni Nos.589, 593,
    599 and 596 in khasra Nos.103, 105, 102 min, 104,
    106, of village Birmi, Tehsil and District Ludhiana.
    The appellant had let out the above-mentioned land to
    Sham Singh and his wife Kuldeep Kaur for cultivation
    of the land. The lessee deposited the rent for few
    years and thereafter initiated litigation against the
    interest of the Board which was decided in favour of
    the Board. The appellant filed Civil Suit No.250 of
    2001 in the Court of Civil Judge, Senior Division for
    the grant of permanent injunction restraining the
    respondents from raising any construction and
    changing the position from agricultural to
    residential of the property in any manner. The
    respondents filed written statement challenging the
    maintainability of the suit. The title of the
    3
    appellant was denied in the written statement. After
    the constitution of the Wakf Tribunal, the suit was
    transferred to the Wakf Tribunal and renumbered as
    RBT No.84/2006. The respondent filed an application
    before the Tribunal for rejection of the plaint on
    the ground that the Tribunal has no jurisdiction to
    entertain the suit and the Civil Court alone has
    jurisdiction to entertain the suit. The Wakf Tribunal
    by its order dated 17.04.2009 rejected the
    application of the respondent and held that after
    01.01.1996 it is only the Wakf Tribunal which has
    jurisdiction to try the present suit.
  2. The respondent aggrieved by the order dated
    17.04.2009 filed Civil Revision in the High Court.
    The High Court relying on the judgment of Ramesh
    Gobindram(dead) through LRs. vs. Sugra Humayun Mirza
    Wakf, (2010) 8 SCC 726, allowed the Revision. The
    High Court held that since the appellant is a nonmuslim, the Wakf Tribunal has no jurisdiction in the
    matter and it is only the Civil Court which had the
    jurisdiction in the present dispute. The appellant
    4
    aggrieved by the said judgment dated 20.09.2010 has
    come up in this appeal.
    Civil Appeal No.93 of 2019(Punjab Wakf Board vs. Teja
    Singh)
  3. The Punjab Wakf Board, the appellant claiming to
    be owner of the property measuring 29 Kanals 9 Marlas
    comprised in Khewat No.224, khatauni No.277, Khasra
    Nos.55, 56, 57 filed Suit No.2 of 2007 in the Court
    of Wakf Tribunal, Ludhiana for possession of above
    noted property and seeking relief for permanent
    injunction restraining the respondent from
    interfering and changing the nature of the property.
    Plaintiff’s case in the suit was that the defendant,
    Taja Singh took suit property on yearly lease from
    Wakf Board till the year 1996-97 and paid lease money
    to the plaintiff Board. After 1996-97 lease was not
    renewed and defendant having committed certain
    illegalities, the Wakf Board cancelled the lease on
    05.12.1998. Notice to this effect was served upon the
    defendant vide which a request was made to the
    defendant to handover the vacant possession of the
    leased-out property to the plaintiff Board. After
    5
    cancellation of the lease, the possession of the
    defendant over the suit property became illegal.
  4. The defendant had also filed suit for grant of
    injunction which was decreed by Civil Judge (Junior
    Division), Ludhiana, the Court restrained the Board
    from dispossessing the respondent forcibly and
    illegally except in due course of law. The defendant
    having failed to handover the possession, the
    appellant filed the suit for possession and the grant
    of permanent injunction. The defendant entered
    appearance and filed written statement. The
    defendant’s case in the written statement was that
    the defendant always remained ready to pay the rent
    due to the plaintiff and is still ready to pay and
    tender the rent due to the plaintiff even in the
    Court but the plaintiff is not accepting the same
    intentionally just to seek possession of the tenanted
    premises in an illegal manner. The defendant had
    filed suit against the Wakf Board for permanent
    injunction which has been decreed by Civil Judge
    6
    (Junior Division), the appeal against which has also
    been dismissed.
  5. The Wakf Tribunal vide its judgment dated
    03.06.2009 decreed the original suit. Following
    decree has been passed by the Tribunal:
    “17. Keeping in view the findings on the
    above issues, the suit of the plaintiff is
    decreed for possession of the suit land and
    the same is also decreed for permanent
    injunction restraining the defendant from
    changing the nature of the suit land with
    costs of the suit. Decree sheet be drawn.
    File be consigned to the record room.”
  6. Against the judgment of the Wakf Tribunal
    decreeing the suit, the defendant filed Civil
    Revision No.6157 of 2009, which has been allowed by
    the High court by following order:
    “In view of the judgment delivered by
    the Apex Court in case Ramesh Gobindram
    (dead) through L.Rs. vs. Sugra Humayun
    Mirza Wakf, 2010(2) RCR(Rent) 266, the
    instant petition is accepted, impugned
    order is set aside and the plaint along
    with documents is returned to the
    Petitioner to be presented before the
    appropriate court.”
    7
  7. The appellant aggrieved by the judgment of the
    High Court dated 23.02.2011 has come up in this
    appeal.
  8. We have heard Shri Salman Khurshid, learned
    senior counsel for the appellant. Shri Vineet Bhagat
    and Shri K.G. Bhagat, learned counsel and Shri S.B.
    Upadhyay, learned senior counsel appeared for the
    respondents.
  9. Shri Salman Khurshid, learned senior counsel for
    the appellant submits that Wakf Tribunal was fully
    competent to entertain the suits filed by the
    appellant. The defendants in both the suits having
    been leased out the land which was Wakf property, the
    suit clearly lay before the Wakf Tribunal as per
    Section 83 of Wakf Act, 1995.
  10. He submits that Wakf Tribunal was conferred
    jurisdiction of entertaining every dispute pertaining
    to Wakf in the Wakf Act, 1954. After the 1984
    Amendment, under Section 55 of Act, 1954 for any
    dispute pertaining to Wakf property suit has to be
    8
    filed before the Tribunal and the jurisdiction of the
    Civil Court was barred by virtue of Section 55C of
    the Act, 1954, which statutory scheme has been
    continued under Sections 83 and 85 of Act, 1995. He
    submits that judgment of Ramesh Gobindram (supra)
    which has been relied by the High Court while
    allowing the revisions filed by the respondents was a
    case under Act, 1954 that too prior to 1984
    Amendment. He, however, submits that suits filed by
    the appellant were suits for possession, hence, were
    fully maintainable before the Wakf Tribunal. Shri
    Salman Khurshid relies on the judgment of this Court
    in Board of Wakf, West Bengal & another vs. Anis
    Fatma Begum & another, (2010) 14 SCC 588, where suit
    filed before the Tribunal was held to be maintainable
    and the judgment of Ramesh Gobindram was
    distinguished.
  11. Shri Khurshid has further relied on the judgment
    and Order of this Court dated 13.09.2013 in C.A.
    No.8194 of 2013 (Punjab Wakf Board vs. Pritpal Singh
    & Anr.) where a similar order passed by the High
    9
    Court holding that suit of Punjab Wakf Board is not
    maintainable has been set aside. He submits that the
    present case is similar to the judgment of this Court
    in Pritpal Singh. Shri Khurshid has relied on other
    judgments which shall be referred to later.
  12. Learned counsel for the respondent, Sham Singh
    Harike, refuting the submission of the counsel of the
    appellant contends that the judgment of this Court in
    Anis Fatma Begum (supra) does not overrule Ramesh
    Gobindram. The case of respondent is that he is in
    possession of property since 1967. In the year 1970
    property was verified as Wakf property without any
    notice to the Central Government. The respondent has
    been opposing the move of appellant Board to seek
    mutation of its title over the property before the
    Revenue Authority. Punjab Wakf Board in the year 1970
    got the suit land notified in the Wakf under the Wakf
    Act, 1954 without serving any notice on the
    respondent. The title of the appellant has been
    refuted by the respondent. The suit filed by the
    appellant was not maintainable before the Civil
    Court, hence, application was filed by the respondent
    10
    under Order VII Rule 10 and 11 CPC for rejecting the
    plaint.
  13. It is submitted by the learned counsel for the
    respondent that Sham Singh Harike and others have
    also filed a suit in the Court of Civil Judge, Senior
    Division against the Union of India and others
    including Punjab, Wakf Board seeking a declaration
    that suit land is not a Wakf property nor Wakf Board
    has right and any interest nor forcibly it can
    dispossess him.
  14. Shri S.B. Upadhyay, learned senior counsel
    appearing for Teja Singh submits that a suit has been
    filed by the respondent being Suit No.265 of 1999
    which has been decreed by the Civil Judge (Junior
    Division) restraining the defendants from
    dispossessing the plaintiff forcibly or illegally
    subject to payment of dues upto date against which
    appeal filed by the Punjab Wakf Board was also
    dismissed on 09.04.2005. Shri Upadhyay has heavily
    relied on Ramesh Gobindram case and he submits that
    11
    in view of the judgment of Ramesh Gobindram, the suit
    filed by the appellant was not maintainable and the
    plaint has rightly been returned to be presented
    before the Civil Court.
  15. We have considered the submissions of the
    parties and perused the records.
  16. The main issue which has arisen for
    consideration in these appeals is as to whether suit
    filed by the appellant before the Wakf Tribunal
    praying for decree of possession of suit property was
    maintainable in Wakf Tribunal or would lie only in a
    Civil Court. Although, the Wakf Tribunal has held
    that suit was maintainable before it, the High Court
    has reversed the order of the Tribunal holding that
    the suit is not maintainable before the Wakf Tribunal
    relying on the judgment of this Court in Ramesh
    Gobindram. Before we notice the judgment of this
    Court in Ramesh Gobindram and the judgments relied by
    the parties, the statutory provisions pertaining to
    Wakf and Wakf property need to be noted.
    12
  17. Before the enactment of Wakf Act, 1995 by the
    Parliament, the Wakf Act, 1954 was in force. Many
    deficiencies in Wakf Act, 1954 were found which led
    to comprehensive amendments made by Wakf Amendment
    Act, 1984 on the basis of recommendations of Wakf
    Inquiry Committee. However, many provisions of 1984
    (Amendment) Act could not be enforced. Before we come
    to Act, 1995 it is relevant to notice the statutory
    regime which was prevalent prior to Act, 1995. The
    Wakf (Amendment) Bill, 1984 was moved with detail of
    Statement of Objects and Reasons. Paragraph 3(vii)
    which is relevant for the present purpose is as
    follows:
    “3. The Bill seeks to make, inter alia,
    amendments to the Wakf Act, 1954, in
    relation to the following matters, namely:-
    xxx xxx xxx
    (vii) to provide for the appointment of
    Tribunals for the speedy determination of
    the disputes, question or other matters
    relating to wakfs; every such Tribunal is
    to consist of one person who shall be a
    member of the State Judicial Service
    holding a rank not below that of a District
    Judge or of a Civil Judge, First Class;
    xxx xxx xxx”
    13
  18. Section 55 of Wakf Act, 1954 (prior to 1984
    Amendment) was as follows:
    “Section-55. Institution of suits under
    section 92 of the Code of Civil Procedure,
    1908.-
    (1) A suit to obtain any of the reliefs
    mentioned in section 92 of the Code of
    Civil Procedure, 1908, (5 of 1908.)
    relating to any Wakf may, notwithstanding
    anything to the contrary contained in that
    section, be instituted by the Board without
    obtaining the consent referred to therein.
    (2) No suit to obtain any of the reliefs
    referred to in section 92 of the Code of
    Civil Procedure, 1908, relating to any Wakf
    shall be instituted by any person or
    authority other than the Board without the
    consent in writing of the Board and for the
    institution of any such suit, it shall not
    be necessary to obtain the consent referred
    to in that section, notwithstanding
    anything contained therein:
    Provided that nothing in this sub-section
    shall apply in relation to any such suit
    against the Board.”
  19. Comprehensive amendments were made in Wakf Act,
  20. Section 55 was substituted in the following
    manner:
    “55. Appointment, powers and jurisdiction
    of tribunals.–(1) The State Government
    shall, by notification in the Official
    14
    Gazette, constitute as many Tribunals as it
    may think fit for the determination of any
    dispute, question or other matter relating
    to a wakf property which such Tribunal is,
    or may be, required to determine under this
    Act or any rule or order made thereunder,
    and may, by the same or subsequent
    notification in the Official Gazette,
    define the local limits of the area in
    relation to which each Tribunal appointed
    by it shall exercise jurisdiction under
    this Act.
    (2) Any mutawalli of a wakf, person
    interested in a wakf or any other person
    aggrieved by any order made under this Act
    or any rule or order made thereunder, may
    make an application within the time
    specified in this Act or where no such time
    has been specified, within such time as may
    be prescribed, to the Tribunal for the
    determination of any dispute, question or
    other matter relating to the wakf.
    (3) Where any application made under subsection (1) relates to any wakf property
    which falls within the territorial limits
    of the Jurisdiction of two or more
    Tribunals, such application, may be made to
    the Tribunal within the local limits of
    whose jurisdiction the mutawalli or any one
    of the mutawallis of the wakf actually and
    voluntarily resides, carries on business or
    personally works for gain, and, where any
    such application is made to the Tribunal
    aforesaid, the other Tribunal or Tribunals
    having jurisdiction shall not entertain any
    application for the determination of such
    dispute, question or other matter:
    Provided that the State Government may,
    if it is of opinion that it is expedient in
    15
    the interests of the wakf or any other
    person interested in the wakf or the wakf
    property, to transfer such application to
    any other Tribunal having jurisdiction for
    the determination of the dispute, question
    or other matter relating to such wakf or
    wakf property, transfer such application to
    any other Tribunal having jurisdiction,
    and, on such transfer, the Tribunal to
    which the application is so transferred
    shall deal with the application from the
    stage which was reached before the Tribunal
    from which the application has been so
    transferred, except where the Tribunal is
    of opinion that it is necessary in the
    interests of justice to deal with the
    application afresh.
    (4) Every Tribunal shall consist of one
    person, who shall be a member of the State
    Judicial Service holding a rank, not below
    that of a District and Sessions Judge or of
    a Civil Judge, Class I, and the appointment
    of every such person may be made either by
    name or by designation.
    (5) The Tribunal shall be deemed to be a
    civil court and shall have the same powers
    as may be exercised by a civil court under
    the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of
    1908), while trying a suit, or executing a
    decree or order.
    (6) Notwithstanding anything contained in
    the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of
    1908), the Tribunal shall follow such
    procedure as may be prescribed:
    Provided that where any procedure,
    different from the prescribed procedure, is
    specified by this Act, the Tribunal shall
    follow the procedure specified by this Act.
    16
    (7) The decision of the Tribunal shall be
    final and binding upon the parties to the
    application and it shall have the force of
    a decree made by a civil court.
    (8) Execution of any decision of the
    Tribunal shall be made by the civil court
    to which such decision is sent for
    execution in accordance with the provisions
    of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of
    1908).
    (9) No appeal shall lie against any
    decision or order whether interim or
    otherwise, given or made by the Tribunal:
    Provided that a High Court may, on its
    own motion or on the application of the
    Board or any person aggrieved, call for and
    examine the records relating to any
    dispute, question or other matter which has
    been determined by the Tribunal for the
    purpose of satisfying itself as to the
    correctness, legality or propriety of such
    determination and may confirm, reverse or
    modify such determination or pass such
    other order as it may think fit.”
  21. Section 55C was inserted relating to bar of
    jurisdiction of Civil Court which was to the
    following effect:
    “55-C. Bar of jurisdiction of civil courts
    in respect of matters determined by
    Tribunal. -No suit or other legal
    proceeding shall lie in any civil court in
    respect of any dispute, question or other
    matter relating to any wakf, wakf property
    or other matter which is required by, or
    17
    under, this Act to be determined by a
    Tribunal.”
  22. Chapter VIII of the Wakf Act, 1995 deals with
    Judicial Proceedings. Sections 83 and 85 which are
    relevant for this case are as follows:
    “83. Constitution of Tribunals, etc.— (1)
    The State Government shall, by notification
    in the Official Gazette, constitute as many
    Tribunals as it may think fit, for the
    determination of any dispute, question or
    other matter relating to a waqf or waqf
    property under this Act and define the
    local limits and jurisdiction of such
    Tribunals.
    (2) Any mutawalli person interested in a
    waqf or any other person aggrieved by an
    order made under this Act, or rules made
    thereunder, may make an application within
    the time specified in this Act or where no
    such time has been specified, within such
    time as may be prescribed, to the Tribunal
    for the determination of any dispute,
    question or other matter relating to the
    waqf.
    (3) Where any application made under subsection (1) relates to any waqf property
    which falls within the territorial limits
    of the jurisdiction of two or more
    Tribunals, such application may be made to
    the Tribunal within the local limits of
    whose jurisdiction the mutawalli or any one
    of the mutawallis of the waqf actually and
    voluntarily resides, carries on business or
    personally works for gain, and, where any
    such application is made to the Tribunal
    aforesaid, the other Tribunal or Tribunals
    having jurisdiction shall not entertain any
    18
    application for the determination of such
    dispute, question or other matter:
    Provided that the State Government may,
    if it is of opinion that it is expedient in
    the interest of the waqf or any other
    person interested in the waqf or the waqf
    property to transfer such application to
    any other Tribunal having jurisdiction for
    the determination of the dispute, question
    or other matter relating to such waqf or
    waqf property, transfer such application to
    any other Tribunal having jurisdiction,
    and, on such transfer, the Tribunal to
    which the application is so transferred,
    shall deal with the application from the
    stage which was reached before the Tribunal
    from which the application has been so
    transferred, except where the Tribunal is
    of opinion that it is necessary in the
    interest of justice to deal with the
    application afresh.
    (4) Every Tribunal shall consist of one
    person who shall be a member of the State
    Judicial Service holding a rank, not below
    that of a District, Sessions or Civil
    Judge, Class I, and the appointment of
    every such person may be made either by
    name or by designation.
    (5) The Tribunal shall be deemed to be a
    Civil Court and shall have the same powers
    as may be exercised by a Civil Court under
    the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, while
    trying a suit, or executing a decree or
    order.
    (6) Notwithstanding anything contained in
    the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, the
    Tribunal shall follow such procedure as may
    be prescribed.
    (7) The decision of the Tribunal shall be
    final and binding upon the parties to the
    19
    application and it shall have the force of
    a decree made by a Civil Court.
    (8) The execution of any decision of the
    Tribunal shall be made by the Civil Court
    to which such decision is sent for
    execution in accordance with the provisions
    of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
    (9) No appeal shall lie against any
    decision or order whether interim or
    otherwise, given or made by the Tribunal:
    Provided that a High Court may, on its
    own motion or on the application of the
    Board or any person aggrieved, call for and
    examine the records relating to any
    dispute, question or other matter which has
    been determined by the Tribunal for the
    purpose of satisfying itself as to the
    correctness, legality or propriety of such
    determination and may confirm, reverse or
    modify such determination or pass such
    other order as it may think fit.
  23. Bar of jurisdiction of Civil Courts. —
    No suit or other legal proceeding shall lie
    in any Civil Court in respect of any
    dispute, question or other matter relating
    to any waqf, waqf property or other matter
    which is required by or under this Act to
    be determined by a Tribunal.”
  24. Reverting back to the facts in these appeals, in
    C.A.No.93 of 2019(Punjab Wakf Board vs. Teja Singh),
    in the suit filed by the Punjab Wakf Board the
    plaintiff has claimed for the following reliefs:
    “It is therefore, prayed that a decree
    for possession of property measuring 29K-9M
    comprised in Khewat No.224, Khatauni
    20
    No.277, Khasra No.55, 56,57 as per the
    Jamabandi for the year 2000-2001 of Village
    Talwara, HB No.149, Tehsil Ludhana West,
    District Ludhiana;
    AND
    For the grant of permanent injunction
    restraining the defendant, his agents,
    attorneys, associates from interfering and
    changing the nature of the property in any
    manner whatsoever, may kindly be passed in
    favour of the plaintiff.”
  25. Plaintiff’s case was that Teja Singh was let out
    the suit property, till the year 1996-97, neither
    lease was renewed nor lessee handed over the
    possession. Teja Singh committed illegalities, the
    lease had been cancelled on 05.12.1998 after legal
    notice. Thereafter, the suit has been filed.
    Plaintiff had also stated that Teja Singh failed to
    get the lease renewed, and a suit against the Board
    was filed where Civil Judge (Junior Division) decreed
    the suit restraining the Board from evicting Teja
    Singh forcibly or illegally. The case of Teja Singh
    in his written statement was that defendant has not
    violated any terms and conditions of the allotment
    order and rent deed, defendant is still ready to pay
    21
    the rent, the lease has not been terminated according
    to the provisions of the Wakf Act.
  26. Coming to C.A.No.92 0f 2019 (Punjab Wakf Board
    vs. Sham Singh Harike), the case of the plaintiff in
    the suit was that the suit land was let out to Sham
    Singh with his wife, Kuldip Kaur in the year 1972 for
    cultivation. Defendant deposited rent for some period
    and after that he acted against the interests of the
    Board and started a false litigation. The property
    was let out to the defendant for agricultural
    purposes having no right to raise construction over
    the property. Details of different litigations
    initiated by the defendant were given in the plaint.
    Defendant initiated various proceedings for allotment
    of the land from the Revenue Authority which were all
    dismissed. The property has been mutated in the name
    of Wakf Board. In the written statement filed by the
    defendant, Sham Singh, the title of Wakf Board itself
    was disputed, and it was pleaded that the suit is not
    maintainable and liable to be dismissed. Until and
    unless the suit property is declared to be that of
    22
    the plaintiff no suit is maintainable. Mutation in
    the name of the plaintiff does not confer any title.
    Thus, in both the suits filed by the appellant, the
    maintainability of the suit in the Wakf Tribunal was
    questioned. In the written statement filed by Sham
    Singh the title of the appellant to the suit property
    was questioned and challenged.
  27. Now, we need to notice the judgment of this Court
    in Ramesh Gobindram(supra) on which the High Court as
    well as learned counsel for the respondent have
    placed heavy reliance. In the above case, the Andhra
    Pradesh Wakf Tribunal has passed an order of eviction
    against the appellant. Revision Petition filed before
    the Andhra Pradesh High Court was dismissed against
    which the appeal was filed. The issue involved in
    that case has been noticed in paragraph 2 of the
    judgment which is to the following effect:
    “2. The question is: whether the Wakf
    Tribunal constituted under Section 83 of
    the Wakf Act, 1995 was competent to
    entertain and adjudicate upon disputes
    regarding eviction of the appellants who
    are occupying different items of what are
    admittedly wakf properties? The Wakf
    23
    Tribunal before whom the suits for eviction
    of the tenants were filed answered the
    question regarding its jurisdiction in the
    affirmative and decreed the suit filed
    against the appellant.”
  28. This Court noticed in the aforesaid judgment that
    there is a cleavage in the judicial opinion expressed
    on the question of jurisdiction of Wakf Tribunal by
    the different High Courts in the country. The view of
    the Andhra Pradesh High Court, Rajasthan High Court,
    Madhya Pradesh High Court, Kerala High Court and
    Punjab and Haryana High Court has been noticed where
    High Courts have taken the view that jurisdiction of
    the Wakf Tribunal is wide enough to entertain and
    adjudicate upon all kinds of disputes which relate to
    any Wakf Property. The contrary view of the High
    Court of Karnataka, High Courts of Madras, Allahabad
    and Bombay was also noticed. This Court proceeded to
    examine the scheme of Wakf Act, 1995. After noticing
    the scheme of Sections 6, 7, 25 and other provisions
    with respect to Section 85 of the Act, following was
    stated by this Court in paragraphs 24 and 28:
    24
    “24. …………A plain reading of the above would
    show that the civil court’s jurisdiction is
    excluded only in cases where the matter in
    dispute is required under the Act to be
    determined by the Tribunal. The words
    “which is required by or under this Act to
    be determined by a Tribunal” holds the key
    to the question whether or not all disputes
    concerning the wakf or wakf property stand
    excluded from the jurisdiction of the civil
    court.
  29. Section 85 of the Act clearly bars
    jurisdiction of the civil courts to
    entertain any suit or proceedings in
    relation to orders passed by or proceedings
    that may be commenced before the Tribunal.
    It follows that although Section 85 is
    wider than what is contained in Sections 6
    and 7 of the Act, the exclusion of
    jurisdiction of the civil courts even under
    Section 85 is not absolute. It is limited
    only to matters that are required by the
    Act to be determined by a Tribunal. So long
    as the dispute or question raised before
    the civil court does not fall within the
    four corners of the powers vested in the
    Tribunal, the jurisdiction of the former to
    entertain a suit or proceedings in relation
    to any such question cannot be said to be
    barred.”
  30. This Court noticing the provisions of Section 83
    has observed that Section 83 does not deal with the
    exclusion of the jurisdiction of Civil Courts to
    entertain the civil suits generally or suit of any
    particular class or category. It interpreted Section
    25
    83 as a provision which does not exclude the
    jurisdiction of the Civil Court. Following was stated
    in paragraph 29:
    “29. ………………………Section 83 of the Act,
    however, does not deal with the exclusion
    of the jurisdiction of the civil courts to
    entertain civil suits generally or suit of
    any particular class or category. The
    exclusion of the civil court’s jurisdiction
    is dealt with by Section 6(5) and Section
    85 of the Act. To interpret Section 83 as a
    provision that excludes the jurisdiction of
    the civil courts is not, therefore, legally
    correct, for that provision deals with
    constitution of Tribunals, the procedure
    which the Tribunals would follow and
    matters relating thereto.”
  31. On an interpretation of Section 83 following has
    been laid down by this Court in paragraphs 31, 32 and
    33:
    “31. It is clear from sub-section (1) of
    Section 83 above that the State Government
    is empowered to establish as many Tribunals
    as it may deem fit for the determination of
    any dispute, question or other matter
    relating to a wakf or wakf property under
    the Act and define the local limits of
    their jurisdiction. Sub-section (2) of
    Section 83 permits any mutawalli or other
    person interested in a wakf or any person
    aggrieved of an order made under the Act or
    the Rules framed thereunder to approach the
    Tribunal for determination of any dispute,
    question or other matter relating to the
    wakf. What is important is that the
    26
    Tribunal can be approached only if the
    person doing so is a mutawalli or a person
    interested in a wakf or aggrieved by an
    order made under the Act or the Rules. The
    remaining provisions of Section 83 provide
    for the procedure that the Tribunal shall
    follow and the manner in which the decision
    of a Tribunal shall be executed. No appeal
    is, however, maintainable against any such
    order although the High Court may call for
    the records and decide about the
    correctness, legality or propriety of any
    determination made by the Tribunal.
  32. There is, in our view, nothing in
    Section 83 to suggest that it pushes the
    exclusion of the jurisdiction of the civil
    courts extends (sic) beyond what has been
    provided for in Section 6(5), Section 7 and
    Section 85 of the Act. It simply empowers
    the Government to constitute a Tribunal or
    Tribunals for determination of any dispute,
    question of other matter relating to a wakf
    or wakf property which does not ipso facto
    mean that the jurisdiction of the civil
    courts stands completely excluded by
    reasons of such establishment.
  33. It is noteworthy that the expression
    “for the determination of any dispute,
    question or other matter relating to a wakf
    or wakf property” appearing in Section
    83(1) also appears in Section 85 of the
    Act. Section 85 does not, however, exclude
    the jurisdiction of the civil courts in
    respect of any or every question or
    disputes only because the same relates to a
    wakf or a wakf property. Section 85 in
    terms provides that the jurisdiction of the
    civil court shall stand excluded in
    relation to only such matters as are
    required by or under this Act to be
    determined by the Tribunal.”
    27
  34. The ultimate conclusion by this Court has been
    recorded in paragraphs 34 and 35 which are as
    follows:
    “34. The crucial question that shall have
    to be answered in every case where a plea
    regarding exclusion of the jurisdiction of
    the civil court is raised is whether the
    Tribunal is under the Act or the Rules
    required to deal with the matter sought to
    be brought before a civil court. If it is
    not, the jurisdiction of the civil court is
    not excluded. But if the Tribunal is
    required to decide the matter the
    jurisdiction of the civil court would stand
    excluded.
  35. In the cases at hand, the Act does not
    provide for any proceedings before the
    Tribunal for determination of a dispute
    concerning the eviction of a tenant in
    occupation of a wakf property or the rights
    and obligations of the lessor and the
    lessees of such property. A suit seeking
    eviction of the tenants from what is
    admittedly wakf property could, therefore,
    be filed only before the civil court and
    not before the Tribunal.”
  36. The crux of the judgment as noticed in paragraph
    34 is that “whether the Tribunal is under the Act or
    the Rules required to deal with the matter sought to
    be brought before a Civil Court. If it is not, the
    28
    jurisdiction of the Civil Court is not excluded. But
    if the Tribunal is required to decide the matter the
    jurisdiction of the Civil Court would stand
    excluded.” Thus, the ratio of the judgment as noticed
    above is “as to whether the Tribunal is under the Act
    or the Rules required to deal with the matter sought
    to be brought”.
  37. After the judgment of this Court in Ramesh
    Gobindram, there are several two-Judge judgments of
    this Court either following Ramesh Gobindram’s
    judgment or distinguishing the same on one or other
    reasons. This Court in Bhanwar Lal and another vs.
    Rajasthan Board of Muslim Wakf and others, (2014) 16
    SCC 51, elaborately noticed the judgment of Ramesh
    Gobindram’s case. This Court ultimately in the facts
    of that case held that since the suit was filed much
    before the enforcement of the Act i.e. 1.1.1996, in
    view of the dictum laid down in Sardar Khan & others
    v. Syed Nazmul Hasan (Seth) and others, (2007) 10 SCC
    727, the Civil Court where the suit was filed shall
    continue to have jurisdiction. In paragraph 30
    following has been laid down:
    29
    “30. The suit is for cancellation of sale
    deed, rent and for possession as well as
    rendition of accounts and for removal of
    trustees. However, pleadings in the suit
    are not filed before us and, therefore, the
    exact nature of relief claimed as well as
    the averments made in the plaint or written
    statements are not known to us. We are
    making these remarks for the reason that
    some of the reliefs claimed in the suit
    appeared to be falling within the exclusive
    jurisdiction of the Tribunal whereas for
    other reliefs the civil court would be
    competent. Going by the ratio of Ramesh
    Gobindram (2010) 8 SCC 726, suit for
    possession and rent is to be tried by the
    civil court. However, the suit pertaining
    to removal of trustees and rendition of
    accounts would fall within the domain of
    the Tribunal. Insofar as relief of
    cancellation of sale deed is concerned this
    is to be tried by the civil court for the
    reason that it is not covered by Section 6
    or 7 of the Act whereby any jurisdiction is
    conferred upon the Tribunal to decide such
    an issue. Moreover, relief of possession,
    which can be given by the civil court,
    depends upon the question as to whether the
    sale deed is valid or not. Thus, the issues
    of sale deed and possession are
    inextricably mixed with each other. We have
    made these observations to clarify the
    legal position. Insofar as the present case
    is concerned, since the suit was filed much
    before the Act came into force, going by
    the dicta laid down in Sardar Khan case, it
    is the civil court where the suit was filed
    will continue to have the jurisdiction over
    the issue and the civil court would be
    competent to decide the same.”
    30
  38. In Faseela M. vs. Munnerul Islam Madrasa
    Committee and another, (2014) 16 SCC 38, the Madrasa
    Committee filed suit for eviction of the appellant
    before the Wakf Tribunal with regard to a Wakf
    property. The Tribunal directed the plaint to be
    returned to the Civil Court which order was recalled
    on 18.09.2010. The appellant had filed revision
    before the High Court for declaration that the Wakf
    Tribunal has no jurisdiction in the matter which was
    dismissed by the High Court relying on Ramesh
    Gobindram. This Court held that suit for eviction
    against the tenant relating to a Wakf property is
    exclusively triable by the Civil Court. In paragraph
    16 following has been held:
    “16. The matter before us is wholly and
    squarely covered by Ramesh Gobindram. The
    suit for eviction against the tenant
    relating to a wakf property is exclusively
    triable by the civil court as such suit is
    not covered by the disputes specified in
    Sections 6 and 7 of the Act.”
  39. There are few judgments of this Court in which
    Ramesh Gobindram has been distinguished and it was
    held that in those cases the suit was maintainable
    31
    before the Wakf Tribunal. In Board of Wakf, West
    Bengal and another vs. Anis Fatma Begum and another,
    (2010) 14 SCC 588, a suit was filed in the Calcutta
    High Court in its original summons jurisdiction
    questioning he demarcation of the Wakf property. In
    Paragraph 4 of the judgment this Court noticed the
    issues raised before the High Court. It was contended
    before this Court that only the Wakf Tribunal has
    jurisdiction in the matter under Wakf Act, 1995 and
    the suit before the High Court was without
    jurisdiction. The said submission was accepted by
    this Court. In paragraphs 6 and 7 following has been
    laid down:
    “6. It was submitted by Dr. Rajeev Dhavan,
    learned Senior Counsel appearing for the
    appellant, that only the Wakf Tribunal has
    jurisdiction in the matter under the Wakf
    Act, 1995 and hence the suit filed in the
    High Court was without jurisdiction. We
    agree.
  40. The dispute in the present case relates
    to a wakf. In our opinion, all matters
    pertaining to wakfs should be filed in the
    first instance before the Wakf Tribunal
    constituted under Section 83 of the Wakf
    Act, 1995 and should not be entertained by
    the civil court or by the High Court
    straightaway under Article 226 of the
    Constitution of India. It may be mentioned
    32
    that the Wakf Act, 1995 is a recent
    parliamentary statute which has constituted
    a Special Tribunal for deciding disputes
    relating to wakfs. The obvious purpose of
    constituting such a Tribunal was that a lot
    of cases relating to wakfs were being filed
    in the courts in India and they were
    occupying a lot of time of all the courts
    in the country which resulted in increase
    in pendency of cases in the courts. Hence,
    a Special Tribunal has been constituted for
    deciding such matters.”
  41. After noticing the provisions of Section 83 this
    Court held that words “any dispute, question or other
    matter relating to a Wakf or Wakf property” are words
    of wide connotation and any dispute, question or
    other matter whatsoever and in whatever manner which
    arises relating to a Wakf or Wakf property can be
    decided by the Wakf Tribunal. Following has been laid
    down in paragraph 10:
    “10. Thus, the Wakf Tribunal can decide all
    disputes, questions or other matters
    relating to a wakf or wakf property. The
    words “any dispute, question or other
    matters relating to a wakf or wakf
    property” are, in our opinion, words of
    very wide connotation. Any dispute,
    question or other matters whatsoever and in
    whatever manner which arises relating to a
    wakf or wakf property can be decided by the
    Wakf Tribunal. The word “wakf” has been
    defined in Section 3(r) of the Wakf Act,
    1995 and hence once the property is found
    33
    to be a wakf property as defined in Section
    3(r), then any dispute, question or other
    matter relating to it should be agitated
    before the Wakf Tribunal.”
  42. This Court also held that when there is special
    law providing for a special forum, then recourse
    cannot be taken to the general law. In paragraphs 14,
    15 and 16 following was laid down:
    “14. It is well settled that when there is
    a special law providing for a special
    forum, then recourse cannot be taken to the
    general law, vide Justice G.P. Singh’s
    Principles of Statutory Interpretation (9th
    Edn., 2004, pp. 133-34).
  43. In Chief Engineer, Hydel Project v.
    Ravinder Nath, (2008)2 SCC 350, this Court
    held that when the matter fell in the area
    covered by the Industrial Disputes Act, the
    civil court would have no jurisdiction. In
    the above decision the Court has referred
    to several earlier decisions on this point.
  44. In view of the above, we are of the
    opinion that since the matter fell under
    the purview of the Wakf Act, only the Wakf
    Tribunal has jurisdiction in the matter,
    and not the civil court. However, in view
    of the decision of this Court in Sardar
    Khan v. Syed Najmul Hasan (Seth), (2007) 10
    SCC 727, the Wakf Act will not be
    applicable to
    suits/appeals/revisions/proceedings
    commenced prior to 1-1-1996 when the Wakf
    Act came into force.”
    34
  45. Distinguishing the judgment of this Court in
    Ramesh Gobindram (supra) following was stated in
    paragraph 17:
    “17. Learned counsel for the respondent,
    however, relied on the decision of this
    Court in Ramesh Gobindram v. Sugra Humayun
    Mirza Wakf. In the aforesaid decision it
    was held that eviction proceedings can only
    be decided by the civil court and not by
    the Wakf Tribunal. The dispute in the
    present case is not an eviction dispute.
    Hence, the aforesaid decision in Ramesh
    Gobindram case is distinguishable.”
  46. It is to be noticed that although two-Judge Bench
    in the above case has observed that judgment of
    Ramesh Gobindram is distinguishable but the ratio of
    the judgment of West Bengal Wakf Board as can be
    culled from paragraph 10 of the judgment, sounds a
    substantially different note from Ramesh Gobindram’s
    case. Two-Judge Bench in West Bengal Wakf Board case
    held
    “10. ………………The words “any dispute, question
    or other matters relating to a wakf or wakf
    property” are, in our opinion, words of
    very wide connotation. Any dispute,
    question or other matters whatsoever and in
    whatever manner which arises relating to a
    35
    wakf or wakf property can be decided by the
    Wakf Tribunal………………………”
  47. In Haryana Wakf Board vs. Mahesh Kumar, (2014) 16
    SCC 45, two-Judge Bench of this Court had occasion to
    consider again the provisions of Sections 7 and 85 of
    Wakf Act, 1995. In the above case suit was filed by
    Haryana Wakf Board seeking possession of property
    which was given on lease to different persons. It is
    alleged that earlier lessee illegally created a lease
    deed in favour of the respondent and treated it as
    illegal encroachment by the respondent. The appellant
    requested him to vacate the premises and when he did
    not do so, suit was filed in the Court of Civil
    Judge, Junior Division, Karnal. The respondent
    appeared and raised various objections and one of the
    issues framed was that the suit is not maintainable
    in the present forum. The trial court decreed the
    suit against which appeal was filed before the
    Additional District Judge. The Additional District
    Judge held that since the claim of the suit by the
    Wakf Board was on the basis that suit property was
    Wakf property and since the respondent had denied it
    36
    to be the Wakf property, such a question could be
    decided only by the Tribunal constituted under the
    Wakf Act. The appeal court, therefore, returned the
    plaint for presentation to the Court of competent
    jurisdiction, namely, the Tribunal. The decree by the
    trial court was set aside. The second appeal filed by
    the defendant was dismissed hence appeal was filed.
    This Court after examining Sections 7, 83 and 85 laid
    down that wherever there is a dispute regarding the
    nature of the property, namely, whether the suit
    property is Wakf property or not, it is the Tribunal
    which has the exclusive jurisdiction to decide the
    same. In paragraph 13 following has been laid down:
    “13. The present suit was instituted in the
    year 2000 i.e. after the Wakf Act, 1995
    came into force. Therefore, the present
    case is not covered by exception to Section
    7(5) of the Wakf Act. Thus, on a plain
    reading of Section 7 read with Section 85
    of the Act, it becomes manifest that
    wherever there is a dispute regarding the
    nature of the property, namely, whether the
    suit property is wakf property or not, it
    is the Tribunal constituted under the Wakf
    Act, which has the exclusive jurisdiction
    to decide the same. We need not delve into
    this issue any longer, inasmuch as in a
    recent judgment by this very Bench of this
    Court in Bhanwar Lal v. Rajasthan Board of
    37
    Muslim Wakf, (2014) 16 SCC 51, decided on
    9-9-2013, this Court took the same view,
    after taking note of earlier judgments on
    the subject, namely, Sardar Khan v. Syed
    Najmul Hasan, (2007) 10 SCC 727, Ramesh
    Gobindram v. Sugra Humayun Mirza Wakf,
    (2010) 8 SCC 726. This view has been
    reaffirmed in Akkode Jumayath Palli
    Paripalana Committee v. P.V. Ibrahim Haji,
    (2014) 16 SCC 65.”
    The view of the High Court was approved upholding
    the jurisdiction of the Wakf Tribunal.
  48. In Akkode Jumayath Palli Paripalana Committee vs.
    P.V. Ibrahim Haji and others, (2014) 16 SCC 65, this
    Court again had occasion to consider Sections 83 and
    84 of the Wakf Act. The question which arose in the
    above case is whether the Wakf Tribunal has got
    jurisdiction to entertain a suit for injunction
    restraining the defendants from interfering with the
    administration, management and peaceful enjoyment of
    the mosque and madarsa run by it and all the assets
    attached to the mosque. The appellant had filed suit
    for injunction before the Court of Munsif. It was
    transferred to the Wakf Tribunal. The suit was
    decreed. Civil Revision was filed in the High Court
    38
    challenging the decree of the Wakf Tribunal. The High
    Court setting aside the judgment and decree of the
    Wakf Tribunal held that suit for injunction is not
    maintainable before the Wakf Tribunal placing
    reliance on the judgment of this Court in Ramesh
    Gobindram(supra). Following was noticed in paragraph
    3 of the judgment:
    “3. The respondents herein filed a civil
    revision petition as CRP No. 1362 of 2004
    under Section 83(9) of the Wakf Act before
    the Kerala High Court. The High Court vide
    its judgment dated 10-11-2010 set aside the
    judgment and decree passed by the Wakf
    Tribunal holding that a suit for injunction
    is not maintainable before a Wakf Tribunal
    placing reliance on the judgment of this
    Court in Ramesh Gobindram v. Sugra Humayun
    Mirza Wakf. The Court also granted
    permission to the appellant to take back
    the plaint for presenting before the
    appropriate court. Later, the appellant
    preferred a review petition which was also
    dismissed by the High Court on 4-2-2011.
    The legality of the orders is under
    challenge in this appeal.”
  49. This Court disapproved the view of the High Court
    and held that suit was maintainable. Two-judge Bench
    has further observed that the judgment in Ramesh
    Gobindram (supra) later came up for consideration
    before this Court in Board of Wakf, West Bengal v.
    39
    Anis Fatma Begum (supra) and the judgment in Ramesh
    Gobindram was held to be distinguishable. Following
    was laid down by this Court in paragraphs 5 and 6:
    “5. The ratio laid down in the
    abovementioned judgment in Ramesh Gobindram
    case later came up for consideration before
    this Court in W.B. Wakf Board v. Anis Fatma
    Begum, (2010) 14 SCC 588 and the judgment
    in Ramesh Gobindram case was held
    distinguishable. That was a case where the
    dispute related to the wakf estate which
    was created by a registered deed of wakf
    dated 22-9-1936. The question raised was
    with regard to the demarcation of the wakf
    property, which this Court held is a matter
    which fell under the purview of the Wakf
    Act. The judgment of the Calcutta High
    Court which held otherwise was set aside
    and this Court held that the Wakf Tribunal
    has jurisdiction to decide those disputes.
  50. We are of the view that the dispute that
    arises for consideration in this case is
    with regard to the management and peaceful
    enjoyment of the mosque and madarsa and the
    assets which relate to wakf. Nature of the
    relief clearly shows that the Wakf Tribunal
    has got jurisdiction to decide those
    disputes. We, therefore, find no error in
    the Wakf Tribunal entertaining OS No. 53 of
    2003 filed by the appellant and the High
    Court has committed an error in holding
    otherwise. Consequently, the impugned order
    passed by the High Court is set aside and
    the matter is remitted to the High Court to
    consider the revision on merits. The
    appeals are disposed of as above, with no
    order as to costs.”
    40
  51. Two-Judge Bench of this Court in the above case
    held the suit to be maintainable in the Wakf Tribunal
    and noted that the ratio of Ramesh Gobindram has been
    distinguished in Anis Fatima case. But as per ratio
    of Ramesh Gobindram unless there is any provision in
    the Wakf Act, 1995 to entertain the said dispute only
    then Wakf Tribunal has jurisdiction, the suit filed
    for injunction was not maintainable in the above
    case. Thus, what is held in the above judgment by the
    two-Judge Bench is not in accord with the ratio of
    Ramesh Gobindram. Only one more judgment of two-Judge
    Bench of this Court be noticed, where the suit filed
    by the Punjab Wakf Board before the Wakf Tribunal
    praying for mesne profits and possession was held to
    be maintainable, i.e, judgment in Punjab Wakf Board
    vs. Pritpal Singh & Anr.(Civil Appeal No.8194 of
    2013) decided on 13.09.2013. The facts of the case
    have been noticed in the following manner:
    “Petitioner herein filed a suit before
    the Wakf Tribunal, Ludhiana, inter alia
    praying for possession as also for mesne
    profits. The Wakf Tribunal by its order
    dated 08.05.2009 decreed the suit for
    possession as also for recovery of mesne
    profits.
    41
    Aggrieved by the same, the respondents
    preferred a writ petition before the High
    Court for quashing the said order. By
    impugned order dated 16.12.2010, the Punjab
    & Haryana High Court had set aside the
    order of the Wakf Tribunal on its finding
    that the Wakf Tribunal had no jurisdiction
    to entertain a suit for ejectment. It is
    against this order that the petitioner has
    preferred this special leave petition.”
  52. After considering the submissions, this Court
    laid down:
    “Having heard learned counsel for the
    parties, we are of the opinion that the
    High Court had erred in holding that the
    suit was for ejectment and that being so
    the Wakf Tribunal has no jurisdiction. As
    we have observed earlier, the suit filed
    before the Wakf Tribunal was for possession
    and mesne profits and, therefore, the High
    Court had erred in setting aside the order
    of the Wakf Tribunal.”
  53. Section 83 sub-section (1) has been substituted
    by Act 27 of 2013. Substituted sub-section (1) is as
    follows:
    “Section 83(1).- The State Government
    shall, by notification in the Official
    Gazette, constitute as many Tribunals as it
    may think fit, for the determination of any
    dispute, question or other matter relating
    to a waqf or waqf property, eviction of a
    tenant or determination of rights and
    obligations of the lessor and the lessee of
    such property, under this Act and define
    42
    the local limits and jurisdiction of such
    Tribunals.”
  54. Section 83 sub-section (1) specifically includes
    eviction of a tenant or determination of rights or
    obligations of the lessor and lessee of such
    property.
  55. In both the suits giving rise to these appeals
    the suits were filed much before the amendment of
    Section 83 by Act 27 of 2013. We, thus, in the
    present case has to interpret Section 83 as it
    existed prior to the above Amendment, 2013.
  56. In sub-section (1) of Section 83 the State
    Government shall by notification in the Official
    Gazette, constitute as many Tribunals as it may think
    fit. The words following the above sentence are “for
    the determination of any dispute, question or other
    matter relating to a wakf or wakf property under this
    Act….”. The Constitution of Tribunal is, thus, for
    the determination of any dispute, question or other
    matter relating to wakf or wakf property under the
    Act, 1995. The “dispute, question or other matter
    43
    relating to wakf or wakf property”, thus, has to
    arise under the Act, 1995. Various provisions of the
    Act, 1995 refer to the Tribunal and the questions
    which are to be decided by the Tribunal. In this
    context sub-section (1) of Section 6 refers to the
    questions which are to be decided by the Tribunal.
    Sub-section (1) of Section 6 is as follows:
    “Section 6(1).-If any question arises
    whether a particular property specified as
    wakf property in the list of wakfs is wakf
    property or not or whether a wakf specified
    in such list is a Shia wakf or Sunni Wakf,
    the Board or the mutawalli of the wakf or
    any person interested therein may institute
    a suit in a Tribunal for the decision of
    the question and the decision of the
    Tribunal in respect of such matter shall be
    final:
    Provided that no such suit shall be
    entertained by the Tribunal after the
    expiry of one year from the date of the
    publication of the list of wakfs.”
  57. Similarly, sub-section (1) of Section 7 also
    refers to decision of the question by the Tribunal.
    Sub-section (1) of Section 7 is quoted below:
    “Section 7(1).-If, after the commencement
    of this Act, any question arises, whether a
    particular property specified as wakf
    property in a list of wakf, is wakf
    property or not or whether a wakf specified
    in such list is a Shia wakf or a Sunni
    44
    wakf, the Board or the mutawalli of the
    wakf, or any person interested therein, may
    apply to the Tribunal having jurisdiction
    in relation to such property, for the
    decision of the question and the decision
    of the Tribunal thereon shall be final:”
  58. Section 33 contemplates filing of an appeal
    before the Tribunal against orders passed under
    Section 33. Section 33 sub-section (4) is as follows:
    “Section 33(4) A mutawalli or other person
    aggrieved by such order may, within thirty
    days of the receipt by him of the order,
    appeal to the Tribunal:
    Provided that no such appeal shall be
    entertained by the Tribunal unless the
    appellant first deposits with the Chief
    Executive Officer the amount which has been
    determined under sub-section (3) as being
    payable by the appellant and the Tribunal
    shall have no power to make any order
    staying pending the disposal of the appeal,
    the operation of the order made by the
    Chief Executive Officer under sub-section
    (3).”
  59. Similar provision of appeal to Tribunal is also
    contained under Section 51 sub-section (5). Section
    52 sub-section (4) is again a provision to file an
    appeal before the Tribunal. Section 54 deals with
    removal of encroachment from Wakf property. Under
    Section 54(4) any person aggrieved by an order passed
    45
    by the Chief Executive Officer directing removal of
    encroachment and delivering possession of the land,
    building, space or other property can institute a
    suit in a Tribunal to establish his right, title or
    interest. Section 54(4) is as follows:
    “Section 54(4) Nothing contained in subsection (3) shall prevent any person
    aggrieved by the order made by the Chief
    Executive Officer under that sub-section
    from instituting a suit in a Tribunal to
    establish that he has right, title or
    interest in the land, building, space or
    other property:
    Provided that no such suit shall be
    instituted by a person who has been let
    into possession of the land, building,
    space or other property as a lessee,
    licence or mortgagee by the mutawalli of
    the wakf or by any other person authorised
    by him in this behalf.”
  60. Section 54(4) contemplates an appeal to the
    Tribunal by the mutawalli who is aggrieved by an
    order of removal. Sub-section (6) of Section 64 is
    again a power of the Tribunal to appoint a suitable
    person as receiver to manage the Wakf. On an
    application filed by the Board in an appeal
    challenging his removal order the Tribunal can
    appoint a receiver. These are provisions in the Act
    46
    which refer to the Tribunal and refer to the subject
    matter which can be brought before the Tribunal by
    mutawalli or Board or any aggrieved person. The use
    of the word “under this Act”, under Section 83(1)
    relates to the words “for the determination of any
    dispute, question or other matter relating to a Wakf
    or Wakf property”. Section 83(1) provides for
    constitution of Tribunal. Other provisions of Section
    83 deals with the procedure including bar of appeal
    against the order of the Tribunal except power of the
    High Court to revise the order of the Tribunal.
  61. Coming to Section 83 which relates to bar of
    jurisdiction of Civil Court, the relevant words are
    “any dispute, question or other matter relating to a
    wakf or wakf property” which is required by or under
    this Act to be determined by the Tribunal. Thus, bar
    of jurisdiction of Civil Court is confined only to
    those matters which are required to be determined by
    the Tribunal under this Act. Thus, Civil Court shall
    have jurisdiction to entertain suit and proceedings
    which are not required by or under the Act, 1995 to
    be determined. Thus, answering the question of
    47
    jurisdiction, question has to be asked whether the
    issue raised in the suit or proceeding is required to
    be decided under the Act, 1995 by the Tribunal, under
    any provision or not. In the event, the answer is
    affirmative, the bar of jurisdiction of Civil Court
    shall operate.
  62. In the judgment in Ramesh Gobindram (supra) this
    Court after considering Sections 83 and 85 as noted
    above has explained the provisions. We now have to
    apply the proposition of the law as noted above in
    facts before us in both the appeals.
  63. In Civil Appeal No.92 of 2019(Punjab Wakf Board
    vs. Sham Singh Harike) suit for injunction was
    initiated by the Board in the Civil Court against the
    defendant. In the written statement filed by Sham
    Singh Harike it was pleaded that suit property is not
    a Wakf property. In paragraph 2 of the written
    statement following was stated:
    “2. Para 2 of the plaint is wrong and
    denied. It is wrong that land measuring
    269K-7M is a Wakf property. Mutation does
    not confer any title on any person.
    Mutation is under challenge as detailed in
    the preliminary objections. Plaintiff has
    48
    intentionally concealed the said fact. The
    plaintiff has also not disclosed the fact
    that the notification on the basis of which
    the alleged mutation has been sanctioned,
    does not confer any right, title or
    interest. The property can only be
    transferred by a registered instrument duly
    registered under the provision of
    Registration Act. Thus, plaintiff has no
    right, title or interest in the suit
    property nor is competent to file the
    present suit qua the said property.”
  64. The suit was transferred to the Wakf Tribunal and
    the same was renumbered as RBT No.84/2006. An
    application was filed by the defendant for rejection
    of the plaint on the ground that the Tribunal has no
    jurisdiction to entertain the suit. The Tribunal
    rejected the application. Against the order of
    rejecting application, civil revision was filed by
    the defendant in the High Court. The High Court
    relying on judgment of this Court in Ramesh Gobindram
    has given the following reason for allowing the
    revision:
    “In view of the aforesaid authoritative
    pronouncement by the Apex Court, where in
    it has been held that the right, title and
    interest of a non-muslim to the Wakf in a
    property cannot be put in jeopardy because
    that property is included in the list of
    49
    Wakf, the impugned order cannot be
    sustained.
    Thus, the present revision petition is
    allowed and the impugned order is set aside
    holding that since the Petitioner is a nonmuslim, the Wakf Tribunal has no
    jurisdiction in the matter and it is only
    the Civil Court which had the jurisdiction
    in the present dispute.”
  65. The High Court had noticed that portion of
    judgment of Ramesh Gobindram where this Court had
    noticed an earlier judgment of this Court in Board of
    Muslim Wakfs, Rajasthan v. Radha Kishan and others,
    (1979) 2 SCC 468. Paragraphs 20 and 21 of the
    judgment of Ramesh Gobindram have been relied which
    are to the following effect:
    “20. From a conjoint reading of the
    provisions of Sections 6 and 7 (supra) it
    is clear that the jurisdiction to determine
    whether or not a property is a wakf
    property or whether a wakf is a Shia wakf
    or a Sunni wakf rests entirely with the
    Tribunal and no suit or other proceeding
    can be instituted or commenced in a civil
    court in relation to any such question
    after the commencement of the Act. What is
    noteworthy is that under Section 6 read
    with Section 7 (supra) the institution of
    (sic a suit in) the civil court is barred
    only in regard to questions that are
    specifically enumerated therein. The bar is
    not complete so as to extend to other
    50
    questions that may arise in relation to the
    wakf property.
  66. We may at this stage usefully digress
    from the core issue only to highlight the
    fact that Section 6(1) and the proviso
    thereto have fallen for interpretation of
    this Court on a few occasions. In Board of
    Muslim Wakfs v. Radha Kishan,(1979) 2 SCC
    468, one of the questions that fell for
    determination was, who are the parties that
    could be taken to be concerned in a
    proceeding under sub-section (1) of Section
    6 of the Act. This Court held that under
    Section 6(1) the Board or the mutawalli of
    the wakf or any person interested therein
    is entitled to file a suit but the word
    “therein” following the expression “any
    person interested” must necessarily refer
    to the word “wakf” which immediately
    precedes it. The object underlying the
    proviso, observed this Court, was to
    confine the power to file a suit to the
    mutawalli and persons interested in the
    wakf. It did not extend to persons who are
    not persons interested in the wakf.
    Consequently, the right, title and interest
    of a stranger, (a non-Muslim), to the wakf
    in a property cannot be put in jeopardy
    merely because that property is included in
    the list of wakfs. The special rule of
    limitation prescribed by the proviso to
    Section 6(1) was itself held inapplicable
    to him and a suit for declaration of title
    to any property included in the list of
    wakfs held maintainable even after the
    expiry of the period of one year.”
  67. This Court in Ramesh Gobindram has referred to
    earlier judgment in Board of Muslim Wakfs, Rajasthan
    51
    v. Radha Kishan and others, (1979) 2 SCC 468. In the
    case of Board of Muslim Wakfs this Court had occasion
    to interpret sub-section (1) of Section 6 with
    proviso to sub-section (1) of Wakf Act, 1954. The
    questions which fell for consideration in the above
    case has been considered in paragraph 22 which is to
    following effect:
    “22. The questions that fall for
    determination upon the appeal are two:
    first, whether a Commissioner of Wakfs
    appointed under sub-section (1) of Section
    4 of the Wakf Act, 1954, has the
    jurisdiction under sub-section (3) of
    Section 4 to enquire whether a certain
    property is wakf property or not when such
    a dispute is raised by a stranger to the
    wakf and second, if so, whether the failure
    of such a person to institute a suit in a
    civil court of competent jurisdiction for
    decision of such question within a period
    of one year, as provided for under subsection (1) of Section 6, makes the
    inclusion of such property in the list of
    wakfs published by the Board under subsection (2) of Section 5 of the Act final
    and conclusive under sub-section (4) of
    Section 6.”
  68. In the above case the respondents were mortgagee
    of property which under Section 5 of 1954, Act was
    published for inclusion in the list of Wakfs. The
    writ petition was filed by the respondents
    52
    challenging legality and validity of the proceedings
    taken which was allowed by the High Court. The High
    Court held that where a person claiming title is a
    stranger to the Wakf, the inclusion of such property
    in the list of Wakfs by the Board under sub-section
    (2) of Section 5 of the Act shall not be final and
    conclusive. This Court noticed the contention of the
    respondents who contended that they being non-Muslims
    they are outside the scope of sub-section (1) of
    Section 6 and they have no right to file the suit
    contemplated by that sub-section, therefore, the list
    of Wakfs published under sub-section (2) of Section 5
    cannot be final and conclusive against them under
    sub-section (4) of Section 6. The argument raised by
    the respondents was accepted by this Court and
    following was laid down in paragraph 33:
    “33. The answer to these questions must
    turn on the true meaning and construction
    of the word “therein” in the expression
    “any person interested therein” appearing
    in sub-section (1) of Section 6. In order
    to understand the meaning of the word
    “therein” in our view, it is necessary to
    refer to the preceding words ‘the Board or
    the mutawalli of the wakf’. The word
    ‘therein’ must necessarily refer to the
    “wakf” which immediately precedes it. It
    53
    cannot refer to the “wakf property”. Subsection (1) of Section 6 enumerates the
    persons who can file suits and also the
    questions in respect of which such suits
    can be filed. In enumerating the persons
    who are empowered to file suits under this
    provision, only the Board, the mutawalli of
    the wakf, and “any person interested
    therein”, thereby necessarily meaning any
    person interested in the wakf, are listed.
    It should be borne in mind that the Act
    deals with wakfs, its institutions and its
    properties. It would, therefore, be logical
    and reasonable to infer that its provisions
    empower only those who are interested in
    the wakfs, to institute suits.”
  69. This Court after holding that the word ‘therein’
    used in sub-section (1) of Section 6 must necessarily
    refer to the ‘wakf’. After holding the above
    following was laid down in paragraphs 39 and 42:
    “39. It follows that where a stranger who
    is a non-Muslim and is in possession of a
    certain property his right, title and
    interest therein cannot be put in jeopardy
    merely because the property is included in
    the list. Such a person is not required to
    file a suit for a declaration of his title
    within a period of one year. The special
    rule of limitation laid down in proviso to
    sub-section (1) of Section 6 is not
    applicable to him. In other words, the list
    published by the Board of Wakfs under subsection (2) of Section 5 can be challenged
    by him by filing a suit for declaration of
    title even after the expiry of the period
    of one year, if the necessity of filing
    such suit arises.
    54
  70. We must accordingly hold that the
    Commissioner of Wakfs acted within
    jurisdiction in holding the disputed
    property to be wakf property. It must,
    therefore, follow that the Board of Muslim
    Wakfs, Rajasthan was justified in including
    the property in the list of wakfs published
    under sub-section (2) of Section 5 of the
    Act. We must also hold, on a construction
    of sub-section (1) of Section 6 that the
    list of wakfs so published by the Board was
    not final and conclusive under sub-section
    (4) of Section 6 against the Respondents 1
    and 2 due to their failure to bring a suit
    within one year as contemplated by subsection (1) of Section 6.”
  71. In the above sub-section (1) of Section 6 of
    Act, 1995 an explanation has been added which is to
    the following effect:
    “Explanation.- For the purposes of this
    Section and Section 7 the expression “any
    person interested therein,” shall, in
    relation to any property specified as wakf
    property in the list of wakfs published
    after the commencement of this Act, shall
    include also every person who, though not
    interested in the wakf concerned, is
    interested in such property and to whom a
    reasonable opportunity had been afforded to
    represent his case by notice served on him
    in that behalf during the course of the
    relevant inquiry under Section 4.”
    The explanation to sub-section (1) of Section 6
    makes it clear that any person interested ‘therein’
    55
    who, though not interested in the Wakf concerned, is
    interested in such property. The above amendment of
    Section 6 sub-section (1) has made the interpretation
    of this Court in Board of Muslim Wakfs (supra) of
    Section 6 sub-section (1) inapplicable. Thus, the
    interpretation that the word ‘therein’ refers to only
    Wakf has been consciously departed with and any
    person interested therein is a person who is
    interested in Wakf as well as in Wakf property both.
  72. In the above context it is relevant to notice
    another judgment of this Court in Punjab Wakf Board
    v. Gram Panchayat, (2000) (2) SCC 121, in which case
    the explanation which was inserted in Section 6(1) of
    the Wakf Act, 1954 by Central Act 69 of 1984 came to
    be considered. The explanation which was added in
    Section 6(1) by 1984 Amendment has brought almost the
    same statutory scheme which has been brought by
    explanation of Section 6(1) of Act, 1995. On
    explanation inserted by 1984 Amendment, this Court
    laid down following:
    56
    “24. Learned counsel for the appellant
    also referred to the explanation added
    below to sub-section (1) of Section 6 of
    the Wakf Act, 1954, by Central Act 69 of
  73. The explanation reads as follows:
    “Explanation.—For the purpose of
    this section and Section 6-A, the
    expression ‘any person interested
    therein’ occurring in sub-section (1)
    of this section and in sub-section (1)
    of Section 6-A, shall, in relation to
    any property specified as wakf
    property in a list of wakfs published,
    under sub-section (2) of Section 5,
    after the commencement of the Wakf
    (Amendment) Act, 1984, shall include
    also every person who, though not
    interested in the wakf concerned, is
    interested in such property and to
    whom a reasonable opportunity had been
    afforded to represent his case by
    notice served on him in that behalf
    during the course of the relevant
    inquiry under Section 4.”
  74. Obviously, the intention of
    Parliament was to say that if a suit was
    not filed within one year, the notification
    would be binding not only on those
    interested in the trust but even strangers,
    claiming interest in the property in
    question, provided they were given notice
    in the inquiry under Section 4 preceding
    the notification under Section 5(2).
  75. In this connection, we have to point
    out that the Government of India has not
    issued any date for commencement of the
    explanation in Section 6 of the Wakf Act
    quoted above. Even if it is assumed that
    the explanation can be invoked, there is no
    material before us to show that any notice
    57
    was issued to the Gram Panchayat before the
    issuance of the notification, as required
    by the explanation. If no notice was issued
    as required by the notification, the
    notification would not come in the way of a
    civil court to decide the question if
    raised between the Wakf and a third party,
    even if such a suit was filed beyond one
    year from the date of the notification.
    Thus, once the Assistant Collector and the
    Collector had jurisdiction to decide, their
    decision became final and Section 13 of the
    Punjab Act barred the civil suit filed by
    the Wakf Board.”
  76. The judgment of this Court in Punjab Wakf Board
    v. Gram Panchayat interpreting the explanation, thus,
    held that the notification issued under Section 5
    would be binding not only on those interested in the
    Wakf but even strangers, claiming interest in the
    property in question, provided they were given notice
    in the inquiry under Section 4 preceding the
    notification under Section 5(2). The interpretation
    put by this Court in Punjab Wakf Board Vs. Gram
    Panchayat to the explanation added by Amendment Act,
    1984 can equally be applied to interpretation of
    explanation to sub-section (1) of Section 6 of Act,
  77. Applying the above ratio to the interpretation
    58
    of explanation of Section 6(1) of Act, 1995 following
    two conclusions can be drawn:
    (a) Any person interested in the Wakf property
    which is specified as Wakf property in the list
    of Wakfs published under Section 5 can also raise
    the dispute regarding the Wakf property by
    instituting a suit in a Tribunal. Limitation for
    filing such suit by any person interested in the
    Wakf property is one year as per Section 6(1)
    proviso.
    (b) The finality of the Wakf property being
    included in the list of Wakfs published under
    Section 5(2) shall not be on a person to whom a
    reasonable opportunity had not been afforded to
    represent his case by notice served on him during
    the course of relevant inquiry under Section 4.
  78. We may also notice the provision of Section 6 of
    sub-section (5) as it existed when suit was filed by
    Punjab Wakf Board against Sham Singh Harike. Section
    6 sub-section (5) provided as follows:
    59
    “6(5) On and from the commencement of this
    Act in a State, no suit or other legal
    proceeding shall be instituted or commence in
    a Court in that State in relation to any
    question referred to in sub-section (1).
  79. As per Section 6 sub-section (1) if any question
    arises as to whether a Wakf property in the list of
    Wakfs is wakf property or not,a suit can be
    instituted in a Tribunal for the decision of the
    question which decision shall be treated as final.
    Limitation for such suit was also provided in proviso
    as one year from the date of the publication of the
    list of Wakfs. Sub-section (5) of Section 6 contained
    the provision barring a suit in any Court after the
    commencement of the Act in relation to any question
    referred to in sub-section (1). In Suit No.250 dated
    10.09.2001 (RBT No.84 dated 09.10.2006, Punjab Wakf
    Board vs. Sham Singh) the question has arisen as to
    whether suit property is a Wakf property or not. We
    have noticed pleadings in written statement filed by
    the defendant in the above suit where it was
    specifically denied that suit property is a Wakf
    property. Thus, within the meaning of sub-section (1)
    60
    of Section 6 question that whether a suit property is
    a Wakf property or not has arisen. Thus, the suit
    wherein the above question has arisen ought to be
    considered by the Tribunal and the High Court clearly
    erred in allowing the revision filed by the defendant
    by its order dated 20.09.2010.
  80. Thus, the view of the High Court that right,
    title and interest of a non-Muslim to the Wakf in a
    property cannot be put in jeopardy is contrary to the
    statutory scheme as contained in Section 6 of the
    Act, 1995. Thus, the reason of the High Court to
    allow the revision petition is wholly unfounded. The
    defendant in written statement has pleaded that the
    suit property is not Wakf property. When issue in the
    suit is as to whether suit property is Wakf property
    or not it is covered by specific provision of
    Sections 6 and 7 of the Wakf Act, 1995, hence, it is
    required to be decided by the Tribunal under Section
    83 and bar under Section 85 shall come into existence
    with regard to jurisdiction of Civil Court. In this
    context, in the judgment in Haryana Wakf Board vs.
    61
    Mahesh Kumar, (2014) 16 SCC 45, this Court has laid
    down that the question as to whether the suit
    property is a Wakf property is a question which has
    to be decided by the Tribunal. In the above case
    plaint was returned by the Appellate Court under
    Order VII Rule 10 for presentation before the
    Tribunal which view was upheld by this Court. In
    paragraph 6 of the judgment following was laid down:
    “6….Deciding the question of
    maintainability and locus standi, in
    respect of which Issues 2 and 4 were
    framed, the first appellate court held that
    since the claim in the suit by the
    petitioner which is a Wakf Board, was on
    the basis that suit property was wakf
    property and since the respondent had
    denied it to be the wakf property, the
    question had arisen as to whether suit
    property is wakf property or not. Such a
    question, in the opinion of the learned
    Additional District Judge, could be decided
    only by the Tribunal constituted under the
    Wakf Act. The appeal court, therefore,
    returned the plaint to the petitioner under
    Order 7 Rule 10 CPC for presentation to the
    court of competent jurisdiction, namely,
    the Tribunal. The result was that the
    decree passed by the trial court was set
    aside and the plaint returned.”
  81. Civil Appeal No.92 of 2019 is, thus, fully
    covered by the judgment of this Court in Haryana Wakf
    62
    Board vs. Mahesh Kumar. The defendant having pleaded
    that suit property is not a Wakf property, the
    question has to be decided by the Tribunal. Thus, the
    High Court has committed error in allowing the
    revision petition. Thus, this appeal deserves to be
    allowed.
  82. One more question needs to be considered is as
    to whether a suit within the meaning of Section 6
    sub-section (1) or Section 7(1) is to be filed within
    a period of one year of publication of list of Wakfs
    under Section 5.
  83. The provision contained in proviso to Section
    6(1) that no such suit shall be entertained by the
    Tribunal after the expiry of one year from the date
    of the publication of the list of Wakfs shall be
    applicable to every person who though not interested
    in the Wakf concerned, is interested in such property
    and to whom a reasonable opportunity had been
    afforded to represent his case by notice served on
    63
    him in that behalf during the course of the relevant
    inquiry under Section 4.
  84. When Section 6 sub-section (1) provides for
    raising a dispute regarding Wakf property in a period
    of one year, it applies to every person who wants to
    dispute the list except those who have been not
    served notice under Section 4(1).
  85. Now coming to Civil Appeal No.93 of 2019(Punjab
    Wakf Board vs. Teja Singh), the suit was filed by
    Wakf Board for possession of suit property and
    injunction in the Tribunal. The above suit was fully
    covered by the ratio laid down by this Court in
    Ramesh Gobindram (supra). The High court relying on
    Ramesh Gobindram case has allowed revision petition
    filed by the defendant. We do not find any error in
    the order of the High Court allowing the revision
    petition filed by the defendant directing the plaint
    along with documents was returned to be presented
    before the appropriate court i.e. Civil Court. We
    uphold the above order of the High Court. In the
    result, this appeal deserves to be dismissed.
    64
  86. In view of the foregoing discussions, we allow
    Civil Appeal No.92 of 2019 (Punjab Wakf Board vs.
    Sham Singh Harike) and set aside the order of the
    High Court dated 20.09.2010. Civil Appeal No.93 of
    2019 (Punjab Wakf Board vs. Teja Singh) is dismissed.
    Parties shall bear their own costs.
    ………………….J.
    ( ASHOK BHUSHAN )
    ………………….J.
    ( K.M. JOSEPH )
    New Delhi,
    February 07,2019.